Tuesday, March 03, 2015

GetUp! Advocacy group steps up anti-Adani campaign in Australia

Latest GetUp video on Mundra
By Our Representative
The Australian advocacy group GetUp has begun a new, sharply focused campaign against the Adani Group, which has planned a $10 billion investment into a coal mining project off ecologically fragile Great Barrier Reef, by widely distributing a video documentary showing how its power plant in Mundra, Gujarat, has “degraded” farmlands.
GetUp senior campaigner Sam Regester has said that the video interviews "expose the ugly truth of how Adani does business". He has added, "GetUp will be submitting over eight hours of video evidence gathered in India to the examination being carried out by the Queensland government, and to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt who has previously chosen not to examine Adani's track record in India."
"The federal and state governments must immediately cancel Adani's licence to operate in Australia. We cannot let this company near our communities, land or our Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area", he has demanded.
GetUp’s video documentary gives a sharply negative picture of the Adani's environmental track record in India, which it says the local provincial government in Queensland and the Australian government “should have considered before granting approvals to the Indian mining giant.”
GetUp commissioned an Indian film crew to document the impact of the company's power plants on the environment and livelihoods of Mundra villagers.
"The Adani power plant came in 2007," the five-minute video quotes Praveen Singh, a Mundra farmer, as saying. "When the company came in, we thought our businesses will prosper but slowly the company revealed its true face. Initially they gave jobs to the villagers but they soon dismissed those they had employed after they had acquired all the land from the government."
GetUp video on Adani "threat" to Great Barrier Reef
Another villager, Bhikha Lal Natubhai, says emissions from coal stacks have affected the community's salt trade since the power plants were set up in 2007. "The emissions leave black residue on the salt, we are no longer able to get good rates for it in the market," he says.
Zubeida, a fisherwoman, speaks from a hut on the coast, surrounded by her relatives. "The sea water gets polluted, reducing the fish," she says. "We don't get any other work. The company will not employ our men or us. Catching fish in the sea is our work and now the fish has also reduced."
Meanwhile, an Adani Group spokesperson in Australia has said the video is a clear campaign to "frustrate Adani's strictly regulated mine, rail and port projects in Queensland", ignoring “the good work” done by it to support healthcare and education opportunities in India.
Reporting on the spurt in the controversy around the Adani project, the Sidney Morning Herald, of of the country’s largest selling dailies, has said, “Environmental activists are increasingly targeting the government's decision not to consider Adani's environmental track record in India in their assessment of the company's plans to develop in Australia”.
It has added, “Environmental Justice Australia is challenging Queensland's environmental regulator over why it gave no regard to official reports in India that claimed companies in the Adani group were destroying mangroves, blocking waterways and bribing officials.”

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